Harvard Sussex Program
on chemical and biological warfare armament and arms limitation


Matthew Meselson


Trained in chemistry and physics, Prof. Meselson has conducted research mainly in the field of molecular genetics. He invented an important method for analyzing the densities of giant molecules and employed it to demonstrate how DNA replicates in dividing cells. He later showed that genetic recombination results from the splicing of DNA molecules. He also demonstrated the enzymatic basis of a process by which cells recognize and destroy foreign DNA, and discovered methyl-directed mismatch repair, which enables cells to repair mistakes in DNA. At present, he conducts research in molecular genetics and evolution.

Since serving as a resident consultant in the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency during the summer of 1963, Dr. Meselson has had an interest in chemical and biological defense and arms control and has served as a consultant on these subjects to various US government agencies. He is Chair of CBW Studies and a member of the Board of Directors of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He directs the Harvard end of the Harvard Sussex Program and is co-editor of its quarterly journal, The CBW Conventions Bulletin.

Prof. Meselson is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Académie des Sciences (Paris), the Accademia Sanctae Clarae (Genoa), the Royal Society (London), the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the Council on Foreign Relations and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received the Albert Lasker Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science, the Mendel Medal of the Genetics Society, the Award in Molecular Biology of the National Academy of Sciences, the Eli Lilly Award in Microbiology and Immunology, the Alumni Medal of the University of Chicago, the Public Service Award of the Federation of American Scientists, the Lehman Award of the New York Academy of Sciences, the Alumni Distinguished Service Award of the California Institute of Technology, the Presidential Award of the New York Academy of Sciences, a MacArthur Fellowship, the Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal of the Genetics Society of America, the Public Service Award of the American Society of Cell Biology, the New York University Basic Biotechnology Award, and the Linus Pauling Prize. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Columbia University, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, Yale, and Princeton. Dr. Meselson has served on the Council of the National Academy of Sciences, the Council of the Smithsonian Institution, the Committee on International Security and Arms Control of the US National Academy of Sciences the Editorial Board of the American Scholar and the Arms Control and Nonproliferation Advisory Board of the US Secretary of State. He is presently a member of the Board of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard.

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